Don’t put away your Pop-Rs.

As autumn ushers in cooler days and nights, a common school of thought is to slow way down and work lower in the water column, and far too many anglers quit using topwater lures for the year. While the fish will eventually slow down, that typically doesn’t happen till the end of fall, when winter truly begins taking its grasp.

The truth is that fall delivers some of the best surface action of the year. Bass commonly look up for meals all day long, as opposed to feeding on top only early in the morning and late in the evening, and on many days a Pop-R will out-produce any subsurface offering you choose to fish.

One thing to keep in mind is that water temperatures change gradually, and that river and lake temperatures therefore tend to be behind air temperatures. It might feel borderline winterish on a dark, windy day, but unless there have been a lot of cold days and nights, the water might have cooled only enough to make it more comfortable for the bass after a long summer.

As days shorten, bass sense the change and instinctually feed more heavily in preparation for tougher times that are just around the corner. Many forage fish are in shallow water or close to the surface over open water, so the bass remain on the lookout for food on or near the top. Misplaced terrestrial insects and other critters such as snakes and frogs also continue to offer meals on top through the summer.

One difference between summer and fall for topwater fishing is that the bluegill spawn is done, and bass are more likely to be relating to shallow shad schools in rivers or reservoirs with shad populations. With that in mind, focus on areas where shad congregate during the fall, such as broad flats, points and humps in major creeks, as opposed to the very backs of pockets, and generally work your lure quickly, with high pulls that make a Pop-R spit and scurry across the surface. For the same reason, if you are in shad waters, start with shad-imitating colors like Silver/Black, Bone and Foxy Shad.

In a waterway that doesn’t have shad or in backwater areas where bass aren’t relating to shad, some other classic Pop-R colors like Ole Bass, Fire Tiger and Red Eye Perch might produce better action. Also, because bass in these areas relate to so many different types of forage, you might need to explore different kinds of banks and cover types and experiment with presentations to figure out what will trigger the best action.

Another seasonal distinction is that forage fish often are small this time of year, and fish sometimes get locked in on a size and won’t touch a larger or smaller offering. Try to spot the baitfish in the water and match it with the size of your lure. The Pop-R comes in sizes that range from the Tiny Pop-R at 2 inches to the Super Pop-R, which is 3 /8 inches long. That doesn’t account for the Micro Pop-R, which is only 1 ¼ inches long, but is kind of a different lure with its inline, single barbless hook.

In truth, the most important thing about a Pop-R and fall is that you keep one tied on and throw it. Do that, and the bass are likely to show you the rest.